A Cowboy’s Prayer


A Cowboy’s Prayer
Charles Badger Clarke (1883 – 1957)

Oh Lord, I’ve never lived where churches grow
I love creation better as it stood
That day you finished it so long ago
And looked upon your work and called it good

I know that others find you in the light
That’s sifted down through tinted window panes
And yet I seem to feel you near tonight
In this dim, quiet starlight on the plains

I thank you, Lord, that I am placed so well
That you have made my freedom so complete
That I’m no slave of whistle, clock or bell
Nor weak-eyed prisoner of wall and street

Just let me live my life as I’ve begun
And give me work that’s open to the sky
Make me a partner of the wind and sun
And I won’t ask a life that’s soft or high

Let me be easy on the man that’s down
Let me be square and generous with all
I’m careless sometimes, Lord, when I’m in town
But never let ’em say I’m mean or small

Make me as big and open as the plains
As honest as the horse between my knees
Clean as the wind that blows behind the rains
Free as the hawk that circles down the breeze

Forgive me, Lord, if sometimes I forget
You know about the reasons that are hid
You understand the things that gall and fret
You know me better than my mother did

Just keep an eye on all that’s done and said
And right me, sometimes, when I turn aside
And guide me on the long, dim, trail ahead
That stretches upward toward the Great Divide

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